MASON CITY — Thanksgiving brings family members together for the big meal — and for some it’s also a time for a family pheasant hunt.

DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz  says it is something to consider.  “Everybody comes back and visits the family for the holiday and the biggest issue is — can you squeeze in time to do it — and than is Mother Nature cooperating?,” he says.

He says conditions are set up for success this year for those who have the tradition of the Thanksgiving hunt. “It’s just always nice to have some birds out there. And at least half of the state or two-thirds of the state that seems to be the case this year,” Bogenschutz says.”Encouraging folks — you know maybe you can sneak out before the Thanksgiving meal — or you know even maybe after to run off some of that turkey and stuffing that you ate.”

He says if you can’t hunt on Thanksgiving Day, you can still plan a family hunt through this weekend. The pheasant season opened October 26th and Bogenschutz says you might have a little better luck than you normally at Thanksgiving time.

“Typically the birds get hunter wise as we say as the season progresses. But this year with the late crop harvest, there’s still some crop fields that are coming out now. So there’s opportunity if one of those fields get harvested or has been harvested in the last week — there’s a good chance some of those birds haven’t been hunted yet,” according to Bogenchutz.

He says birds that have just been forced out of their crop cover by the harvest may not be as good at avoiding hunters.
“They might not be as wise as they normally would be if we had a normal crop year and they’d been hunted quite a bit,” he says. The pheasant season runs through January 10th.

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